Search This Blog

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Ferrari With Back Seats!

By Mark Cella

The 7 Speed Gearbox

The Ferrari California offered a number of firsts upon its debut in 2008. A retractible hardtop. A front-engine V8. A dual-clutch 7-speed transmission, for those seamless gear changes. And as a result of this transmission it presents at least one last: The last Ferrari to offer a manual gearbox. It's a natural classic, all good looks and serious performance, and it's got a foot in the present and the past.

It's also got something called backseats, which seems like a cute concept for a Ferrari -- a "2+" is the technical term. The $230,000 auto is called a "grand tourer" I suppose for this reason, though you'd better find some small friends or very young children if you want to do any grand touring without major leg circulation issues.

A Backseat, Um OK

Its link to the past is right there in the name -- the California is so named for the 250 GTs that awed a 20th-century world in the late '50s. You'll remember the most famous dignitary of the 250 series as the car in the 1986 John Hughes classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." That was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California, one of few than a hundred cars (as noted by Cameron). (The car in the movie was a replica, not an actual 250, because if it had been, Ferrari enthusiasts would have burned down Hollywood had Hughes actually destroyed one of the rare beauties.)

So the new series, which could just as easily have been called the "Utah" or the "Connecticut," adopts the name of that 50-year-old classic and lays in all the new gadgetry of this, the modern era. Performance is turn-of-the-century, too: zero to 60 in a shade under four seconds, a top speed of 193 mph, and due to long hours in a wind tunnel, the most aerodynamic car Ferrari's ever built.

A Breathtaking Machine

But anyway yes the new California gets its name from those cars of yore, and while it's sure a fine product from those Italian fellows, it seems to have gotten a lot of gossip about being a "nice" car. Pretty but not exotic, and with a rear end that offends some, it's clear that the new California has a mellow side that its cousins do not.

And this is partly in the design -- a car that can do many things well, and most of them better than almost every other car on the road. So while it's a bit peculiar for a Ferrari, it's still a breathtaking machine when compared to ... gosh, anything with a backseat. Just make sure you call shotgun at least once.

About the Author:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Only Auto Warranty related content will get approved.